Every writer– whether you’re a poet, lyricist, novelist, short story writer, napkin scribbler, blogger, or any combination of the above– needs a reliable sounding board– someone you can read your work to who will listen with an open mind, and give you their opinion. Someone who will ask the questions that need to be asked, and give you a fresh view of your work, so that you can then head back into your writing nook and correct whatever mistakes you’ve made.
For me, that person has always been my mother. And ironically, it’s been especially true for the last six years. Since she and I now find ourselves living over 1000 miles apart, that means a lot of late night Skype and cell phone calls (apparently being a night owl runs in my family).
I can’t stress enough the need for a good sounding board. It’s one thing for you to think your work is half-way decent or for you to be pleased with yourself– that will only take you so far. To push yourself to keep reaching, to keep improving, you really need someone else to give you a different viewpoint. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read something to her and had her come back with a viewpoint I hadn’t thought of– some of them changed the story completely.
I just got off the phone with her a little while ago– went into the kitchen to pop myself a massive bowl of popcorn and pour myself a bathtub-sized cup of coffee before I came into my room to curl up with my laptop, ready to get to work for the night.
My mother is an incredibly intelligent woman, but in the household I grew up in, where my step-dad is a hardcore reader, my younger brother is a reader, I’m an even harder-core reader, my mother (though a speed-reader like you wouldn’t believe) has never counted herself as much of a reader.
Granted, when she does pick up a story that catches her interest, she can speed through it like nobody’s business. I always counted myself lucky that I’m much the same way in that respect.
A few weeks back, we were in the middle of me reading something or other to her (as many projects as I’ve got in the works at the moment, I can’t remember which one it was at the time), she told me that my writing is one of the few exceptions to that rule. I only knew that there’s times she’ll call me out of the blue, always asking first if I’m busy (I always say I’m not, whether I am or not. She’s my mom, after all.).
Then, she asks me to read to her. When I ask her what she’d like to hear, she always answers “Whatever you’re working on.”
So I read to her. My poetry, my lyrics, my one-shot drabbles, my epics, and she listens, sometimes asking questions, sometimes offering an opinion on my work, sharing memories and stories of her life that whatever I’m working on might have brought to mind.
I called her up today and I asked her if she’d seen the video I made for her last night (technically I think it was sometime around 5 this morning when I finally finished editing and posting it), and she pulled it up and watched it.
She asked me if I’d send her a copy of the video, so I did, just as I sent the mp3 of me singing “Amazing Grace” to her a few days before (I played my singing as the background music for the video I made for her).
Then, she asked me if I wouldn’t mind sending her other recordings– if I wouldn’t mind recording me reading my writing and sending it to her in audio format, and I have to admit, I’d never thought of doing such a thing before. Then again, I’ve been doing a lot of things lately I never thought of doing, so I thought about it, and I figured sure, why not?
I was nervous about making the blog, and now it’s starting to feel more comfortable, I was nervous about making vlogs, and now I’m looking forward to it, same with singing in public, and now, I’ve got two vids on my channel of me doing just that.
I guess what I’m wanting to ask you guys is– is that something you guys would be interested in? I know people read audio-books when they’re busy, or don’t feel like reading, that some people find it more soothing and relaxing to hear the words spoken instead. Are my works something you guys would like to hear in an audio format, if I find a way to post them in such a format, or do you find the idea of my voice akin to something like nails on a chalkboard?
If this ends up being an idea that people are interested in, I can start looking into it. But if you’d rather just read my words, or if you don’t find my voice suitable for the task, then at least I can say I made the effort to try something different, which is something I’m trying to do more and more in my everyday life.
As always, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you who let me into your lives for a moment at a time, and I hope you have a great night/morning.